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The semester of Hackathons

Seeing the Hackathon related posts and conversations on Twitter and Reddit, I always had a desire to attend a Hackathon before my college ends. Finally this spring semester I got the chance to attend not just one but two hackathons. In this blog post, I’ll share my experience of participating in Inter IIT Tech Meet Coding Hackathon 2018 and winning Smart India Hackathon 2019.

Inter IIT Tech Meet Coding Hackathon

Inter IIT Tech Meet is an annual event where all IITs compete in various technical competitions. The coding hackathon is one such event. This academic year I got a chance to represent my institute(IIT Bhubaneswar) in Tech Meet’s coding Hackathon. The team size was 4 students per team. In my team, I had Rishabh Gupta, Karunakar(both CSE’20 batchmate) and Aditya Pratap Singh(ECE’20) as team members. The Hackathon started on 18th December 06 PM and was 22 hours long.

Problem Statement

The Hackathon was sponsored by Jio Developers and the problem statement was to make anything that can be made available on Jio Feature Phone app store. They had a strong emphasis on making things which can be used by Indian masses thus should have an easily accessible interface for less tech-savvy people.

Our Solution

We created a chatbot using APIMEDIC API’s and Google Search scrapping which can diagnose the disease based on given symptoms. The chatbot can also provide the details of nearby doctors and is available in multiple Indian languages(Hindi, Bangla, Marathi and obviously English). We initially deployed the chatbot on Telegram. Here is the video demonstrating the chatbot that we made:


Unfortunately, our solution couldn’t win the Hackathon as the solution of other IITs were really outstanding and more useful to Jio than ours one but still, we got 6th rank among 22 participating IITs.

Wandering Mumbai!!

We had 2 days to roam around Mumbai before our return journey. The day after Hackathon, we went to Essel World amusement park. It was my first visit to an amusement park. The rides in the park were amusing and some of them were really scary. After a tiring day at Essel world, we also had a chance to visit Juhu beach, Gateway of India, Nariman Point and iconic Marine Drive of Mumbai on the next day.

Smart India Hackathon 2019

The Smart India Hackathon is claimed to be the world’s biggest open innovation model. Many Govt of India and State Govt departments, as well as Industry leaders, float problem statement in 3 categories based on difficulty level of the problem statement. There is an initial screening round of all submitted ideas in which around 4-5 teams are shortlisted for each problem statement, followed by the Grand Finale. This year the grand finale was scheduled on 2nd and 3rd March. My team Champions_sam got shortlisted for one of Cisco’s complex problem statement. Each participating team had 6 members. In my team, I had Saksham, Aditya Pal, Tummala Madhav, Ankur(all CSE’20) and Meghna(ECE’20) as team members. The nodal center for our problem statement was SBEC, Alapuzha, Kerala.

Problem Statement

At many public places like Railway station, Bus stand, government offices, banks etc when people walk-in they look for basic information. Inquiry window becomes the bottleneck and leads to the bad user experience. We want to create a tool that can be used to manage public announcements in a physical space. - Auto detects people when the user walks into physical space using a WiFi connection. - Prompt user to join support messaging room for that physical location. - Develop chatbot that can answer frequently asked questions for location. - Allow the facility administrator to broadcast message to all people currently present in physical space. - Allow users to have a video call with some remote support staff.

Our Solution

In this Hackathon too, the solution involved building a chatbot. We created a chatbot for hospitals as a proof of concept covering all the requirements of the problem statement and a few extra features too. We used Google Dialog flow for NLP to make the chatbot interface more intuitive and Vue.js to create frontend. The Cisco Meraki device provided by Cisco team at Hackathon was very helpful to send push notifications and splash screen when the user walks in the WiFi Zone.

Following diagram better explains the approach of our solution.


After 3 rounds of extensive judging during the 36 hour Hackathon, our solution was declared best among all solutions of the problem statements and finally, I got my first Hackathon victory 😁

Roaming around Kochi

Before our return flight from Kochi, we had a few hours to wander around Kochi. We visited Fort Kochi in the afternoon and had lunch in a restaurant completely packed with angrezs. After that, we visited the historic Aspinwall house and took a ferry to Ernakulam Marine Drive. Unfortunately, We couldn’t see many places in Kochi but I look forward to going Kerala again whenever I get a chance. This place is really God’s own country!